Your air filter performs two very important roles in your home HVAC system: it protects the internal workings of your furnace and air conditioner from dust, dander, mold spores, and other debris which could build up and impair operation, and it boosts your indoor air quality by removing those particulates from your air supply. But with all the air filters on the market, which do you choose?
The MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) is one important consideration: the higher the MERV value, the more effective the filter will be at capturing particulates. But if the MERV value exceeds your unit’s recommended range, it may cause problems as the blower fan has to push harder to circulate air through the filter.
The other factor to consider is the construction of the air filter itself. Air filters can be made of a number of materials, including:
- Fiberglass. Some of the cheapest filters on the market, these aren’t really designed to help your air quality. They’re aimed more toward keeping large particles out of your system. As a result, they reduce less than 10% of your indoor pollutants, making them best for homes with a separate air cleaning system.
- Washable: Designed to be washed and re-used, these filters generally have low MERV ratings and can cause more hassle than they save. If any moisture is allowed to stay in the filter material after washing, the filter itself can become a haven for mold and bacteria, introducing more organic pollutants into your indoor air.
- Pleated or polyester filters: These filters are similar to fiberglass filters, but with a tighter mesh and superior dust-trapping abilities. They can often remove up to half of the particulates in your indoor air.
- High-efficiency or extended media filters: Used in hospitals and airplanes, these filters aren’t generally compatible with home HVAC system fans. They can be purchased as stand-alone air cleaners to deliver high indoor air quality.
To learn more about the best air filters for your Grand Traverse County home, contact us at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing!
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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